RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel has recommended the ONE Casino + Resort plans to move forward as the city’s casino gaming operator.
The proposed site is located on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond and the Evaluation Panel’s recommendation is backed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, according to a release from the Office of the Mayor.
“ONE Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “The project will create over 1,000 good-paying jobs, generate a significant amount of new revenue for the city, and establish an additional economic engine in South Richmond. I applaud the work of the Evaluation Panel in their vetting of the proposals and engaging the entire city throughout this project.”
TAKE A LOOK: Aerials of the proposed location of the ONE Casino + Resort in Southside Richmond
Urban ONE proposed the ONE Casino + Resort in partnership with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, which owns and operates several casinos and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in the state of Virginia.
“ONE is thrilled the Richmond casino selection committee has chosen the best project with the best location and best team to develop a world-class entertainment destination in Richmond’s Southside,” said Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One.
“Urban One and our diverse group of local investors are fully committed to creating good paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees, pathways to successful careers, and generating significant new tax revenues that can improve Richmond’s schools and fund community programs and infrastructure.”
The release also stated the Evaluation Panel has based its recommendation on factors like feasibility, sustainability, location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact and potential community benefits.
Mayor Stoney is planning to introduce the proposed ONE Casino + Resort project to City Council on Monday, May 24.
Legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly will result in the City Council being asked to petition the court so a referendum on casino gaming in Richmond can take place during the upcoming November election.
Richmond 9th District City Councilperson Michael Jones said the committee and Mayor Stoney made the correct decision.
“I believe this investment on the southside is the right thing to do,” Jones said. “This has the opportunity to change the trajectory of southside and southside neighborhoods to bring economic development dollars along with the mayor and the city administration to invest city resources in the southside neighborhoods and infrastructure.”
Jones said the Urban One company is Black-owned and said “they have invested in African American culture and communities for decades and I think it is only fitting they get the opportunity to raise the aesthetic to an impoverished area, an area in Richmond that has been starved of city resources and attention. It is now time to truly make this one city with this project. Southside residents are excited about this.”
Last week, 8News spoke to Urban One to discuss the casino proposal and community concerns.
At that time, there were only two companies left in competition for the city’s approval: Urban One and Cordish Companies.
The project’s initial $517 million total investment has been bumped to $600 million. One Casino is slated to include a luxury hotel with 250 rooms, a 3,000-seat theater, broadcast production studios, 12 restaurants and bars, a 55-acre green space with walking trails and dog parks, and a gaming facility. The gaming area is said to include 110 table games, a poker room, and 2,000 slot machines once built.
Initial amenities are being added to the project based on feedback from the city.
The decision by the Resort Casino Evaluation Panel effectively eliminates Cordish from the casino race, leaving Urban One as the city’s approved company to take on the task.
8News asked Cordish CEO Zed Smith for a statement after the news was announced. He said “we appreciated the opportunity to share with city leaders our long track record of building and operating the most successful casino entertainment resorts in the country.”
“In light of our unparalleled experience and expertise as urban development and gaming resort specialists, we are disappointed that the Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond proposal was not selected,” Smith said. “While we believe our site clearly would have brought the largest long-term economic benefit to the city and its residents, as evidenced by the city’s own independent, outside consultant, we respect the Evaluation Committee’s decision. Our engagement with residents and businesses across the city has been incredibly rewarding. “
“We are thankful and grateful for the many new friendships and connections within the community that we have gained from this experience. We wish the city the best of luck as it moves forward with this project.”
More information on the city’s resort casino process is available on the City of Richmond website.
The city will be further explaining the decision making process and next steps at a meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The meeting can be viewed on Microsoft Teams.
The City of Richmond posted a video explaining details about the proposed resort casino on their YouTube channel featuring reporting from 8News Reporter Talya Cunningham.